Welsh Government to review £1m cost of town hall Pravdas

The Welsh Government is reportedly planning to conduct a review into council-funded newspapers after figures revealed they cost taxpayers more than £1m a year.

According to Wales Online, 17 of Wales’ 22 local authorities publish local newspapers, including Cardiff Council’s Capital Times, which comes out 13 times a year at a cost of £331,000.

Taking into account staffing, printing, distribution and translation, the total cost to the taxpayer comes to more than £1m a year, report Wales Online.

Ken Skates, Labour AM for Clwyd South and a former Wrexham Leader journalist, told the website:

‘I’m totally in support of councils making sure they get their information across but they should do it through the form of press releases with the local press which they’ve always done, through Twitter, Facebook, their own website pages.

‘These information leaflets are masquerading as independent local papers with no editorial independence from the corporate and political leadership of the council, no critique of services, no right to reply and no adverse publicity. That’s bad for democracy.”

Earlier this month, community Secretary Eric Pickles threatened to outlaw so-called ‘town hall Pravdas’.

The Government unveiled new proposals aiming to clamp down on the publications in February 2011 when it revised the Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity.

While most authorities accepted the recommendations, a handful – including several in London – ignored them.

Pickles warned the rebel councils that the Government could introduce new laws banning the publications.

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